JimMesthene
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Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:04 am
Delivery Date: 10 Jan 2013

Towed power source

Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:20 am

My first post:
I don't own a Leaf but I've worked in the car business since 1970. Forgive me if this is a familiar topic.
Could you tow a small generator behind the car for the rare times you need to exceed its range? It would probably need about 25kw and weigh about 1000 lbs. It could be used like Zipcars, you'd just rent one for your trip, plug in when you get there.
Is that a stupid or old idea?

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Randy
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Re: Towed power source

Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:51 am

A couple of people have done it, but why not just get the right car for the job?

The Chevy Volt, for example, can travel 35 miles or so on the battery and then it switches to the gasoline generator to go a couple hundred more miles...That seems more like what you're talking about....

Nissan does not recommend towing with the LEAF, although some people have installed hitches...

GreenPowerDP
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Leaf Number: 4417
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Re: Towed power source

Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:26 am

JimMesthene wrote:My first post:
I don't own a Leaf but I've worked in the car business since 1970. Forgive me if this is a familiar topic.
Could you tow a small generator behind the car for the rare times you need to exceed its range? It would probably need about 25kw and weigh about 1000 lbs. It could be used like Zipcars, you'd just rent one for your trip, plug in when you get there.
Is that a stupid or old idea?
eBuggy is planning something like what you are describing. Here is a link to an article about their battery trailer:

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/107 ... ry-trailer" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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fooljoe
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Re: Towed power source

Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:38 am

It's been discussed in several threads. Phil, of evseupgrade.com fame, built one powered by a propane turbine. Back in the California ZEV days, AC Propulsion built one for the Rav4-EV based on a motorcycle engine.

The short answer is yes, it's definitely possible, but it's by no means simple to do, and of course there aren't any off the shelf units to buy.

I've always thought a Zipcar or rental paradigm for generator trailers might make a lot of sense, but so far there's nothing on the horizon. There is a company in Germany doing something like this, but their trailer holds a 2nd battery, which seems to me a bit misguided. Those who would answer "get a Volt" or "get a Tesla" totally miss the point, IMO.
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JimMesthene
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:04 am
Delivery Date: 10 Jan 2013

Re: Towed power source

Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Why wouldn't Nissan want to get in the business? If I only need to exceed my range twice a year, I'd rather not own the engine. Like Zipcar or bike rental programs, it would take years to ramp up. It could be very profitable.
Drive to your summer place at the lake, plug in there. Rental fee would be a combination of days and hours used.
Thanks for the replies. If it's not yet practical, at least it's not stupid.

fooljoe
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Re: Towed power source

Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:58 pm

Maybe Nissan will eventually, who knows. It would be pretty hard for a 3rd party to make a go of this without official Nissan approval too. Consider that one has to basically "hack" the car to feed in power from the trailer, which I'm sure could have all sorts of warranty implications. Right now Nissan won't even sanction towing of any sort.

One might also ask why Nissan's not trying to build out a Quick Charger network. I suppose for now it's hard enough for them to try and make the Leaf profitable on its own, and the last thing they need is further complications like this.
RavCharge.com | 2012 Rav4-EV | 2011 Leaf SL w/QC batt replaced 11/20/15 | Clipper Creek CS-60 | EVSEupgraded 2013 Leaf EVSE | 3.84kw PV

KJD
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Re: Towed power source

Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:17 pm

fooljoe wrote: One might also ask why Nissan's not trying to build out a Quick Charger network. I suppose for now it's hard enough for them to try and make the Leaf profitable on its own, and the last thing they need is further complications like this.
Sounds like that may be about to change soon.
http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.p ... 6&start=50" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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